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Definition Cosmetics

Definition includes

What is a cosmetic product?

The legislature gives the following definition of a cosmetic product (Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009):
“Cosmetic product” means any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours.”

This definition includes, for example, face and body care products, sun care products, skin cleansing products, depilatories, deodorants and antiperspirants, shaving products, makeup, perfume, self tanning lotions, hair and scalp care products, hair styling products and dental care.

According to the definition it is a cosmetic product, if this is exclusively or mainly for cosmetic purposes.

What is not a cosmetic product?

Important in practice is the clear demarcation of a cosmetic product to other product categories, such as for pharmaceuticals, medical products, biocidal products or food.

If a product has properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings (Directive 2001/83/EC), it is a drug and not a cosmetic. A drug for example, is a cream for healing and relieving neurodermatitis.

Disinfectants, insecticides and repellents (eg “gnats spray”) is subject to the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) Nr. 528 / 2012 and are subject to approval.

The approval of drugs for example is much more complex in relation to cosmetics. Here the participation of the ethics committee is required by law, which is not the case with cosmetics. For this reason, the clearing up is always advised by an expert beforehand – likewise in order to avoid erroneously medical efficacies on cosmetic products.


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